Natalia Jurado Espin just completed her electronic engineering degree at Tecnológico de Monterrey(ITESM)Toluca. I met her at the PACE Annual Forum where her team completed in the personal assisted mobility device (PAMD) competition.
She has a passion for electronics and was originally interested in biotech but is now working on her master’s degree in mechatronics.
Natalia’s team – PAMD Team #4 – included students from ITESM Toluca, ITESM Monterrey, McMaster University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Together they developed the Gazelle:
Each school manufactured a different part of the device. As Natalia said:
“Everyone has something from themselves in there.”
So they were pleased when they assembled it for the first time a few days before the competition and the parts fit together like their digital assembly.
The device is quite compact with a folded size of 500x600x220 millimeters. It weighs about 20 kilograms. The maximum speed is 16 kilometers per hour and the electricity consumption is 1.5 kilowatt hour per 60 kilometers. The motor is 450 watt 24 volt motor.
One of the unique aspects of their design was the joystick control, which Natalia notes was also one of the most challenging parts of the Gazelle’s design. They used finite element analysis (FEA) to validate parts of their design – particularly the load stress on the back of the device where most of the operator’s weight would be. They used aluminum for that part of the device. The team also used ABS plastic and 3D printing for other parts.
While they tested parts for fit and function, there was some safety concern on test day due to how low the device was to the ground and how that might be impacted by the heavy rains we experienced on that day.
Natalia shared in the video lessons learned about team communication and design validation. She also noted that she learned more in NX training at the forum so she looks forward to integrating more electronics with mechanical in future engineering projects. One of the things she said in our interview highlights one of the unique aspects of the collaborative nature of PACE competitions. Team members learn other fields in addition to the ones they have experience and knowledge in.
Here is Natalia (second from left) and her team with the Gazelle after their PAMD presentation.